Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Review: "If I'm Found"

If I'm Found is the second book in Terri Blackstock's If I Run series; it's more intense than the first book and leads right into the third, If I Live, due out next March. In this second book, Casey Cox is still hiding from the law enforcement officers who framed her for murder while trying to prove her innocence. Dylan Roberts, a private investigator, hired by the victim's parents to find Casey, is now convinced of her innocence and working to bring the real killers to justice without letting them know that he is on to them.

But the pressure to prove her innocence while protecting her family from those who are after her, who would hurt them to get to her, isn't enough for Casey. Just as she did in the first book, she stumbles across a few more people in need of help: a falsely accused man and a severely misused child. Again Casey must put her safety and personal concern aside in order to find justice for other victims.

I recommend this book to fans of police drama and suspense. Zondervan sent me a complimentary copy, so that I could tell you what I think of it.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Review: "Pursued"

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Agent Nikki Boyd experiences one traumatic event after another in this newest novel by Lisa Harris. In fact, the first all by itself would put most people out of commission for a time, yet Nikki just keeps on going.

She has to. After her sister's disappearance, still unresolved, she is determined to help others not experience the loss, confusion, and lack of closure that she has known. She has devoted her life to finding missing people, and Erika Hamilton is missing. Nikki is determined to solve the mystery no matter what.

I enjoyed reading this third book in the Nikki Boyd Files series and love where Harris is taking her readers as Nikki not only works to solve mysteries, but to discover her true niche in life. Work, family, romance, and health: all have blessings to enjoy and challenges to meet. Nikki is learning how to balance everything God's way, pursuing her calling while contemplating dreams.

I recommend this book to fans of Christian fiction, action-adventure, and mystery. Thank you, Revell, for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Book Review: "The Bible Explorer's Guide"

The Bible Explorer's Guide is a great new book from Zonderkidz. I chose it for review because one of my daughters just loves books full of quick facts and photos. But I am really impressed with all this book has to offer her. Each spread has a collection of facts on a particular topic moving in a logical way from Old Testament to New. There are facts on archaeology, culture, geography, and history, all put together in a way that helps kids see the Bible's authenticity and value for life. Personally, I loved the pictures of artifacts that showed me what some items I'd read about actually looked like. The book ends with a summary of Who's Who in the Old and New Testaments and a timeline of events.

The Bible Explorer's Guide is an intriguing reference book that I believe kids will want to browse through repeatedly. Younger children will enjoy the pictures then grow into the facts. Some may even find value in hanging onto this reference as a springboard for deeper study.

I recommend this book for any parent hoping to build their child's curiosity about and knowledge of God's Word.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Review: "Sandpiper Cove"

Adam Stone just wants to make a new life for himself in Sandpiper Cove. He enjoys his work, looks for ways to help his community, and leads a quiet life with the dog he rescued on his way into town. When vandals strike twice, though, Police Chief Lexi Graham shows up at his door wanting any information he can share to help her catch the criminals.

Lexi is a single mom, living with her mom and raising her son. She also just wants to make a new life for herself. She won't tell anyone what happened to the husband they'd never had a chance to meet. She simply wants to lose herself in taking care of her town.

I think this is my favorite of the Hope Harbor novels so far, though I have enjoyed all three. It's a hopeful book about starting fresh and going strong after whatever devastating circumstances come along. Adam and Lexi may be the main characters, but other characters, both new and familiar from other books, are moving forward through trying situations, too.

I recommend this book and the others in the series to fans of inspirational Christian fiction. I thank Revell for sending a complimentary copy, so I could share my opinion with you.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Book Review: "Tranquility"

I am really enjoying this little coloring book for grown-ups. When I need a break in the middle of a hectic day, I can sit with it, read the words, then color in the simple patterns while I reflect on sentences that capture my attention. This keeps my hands busy while my brain goes to work, contemplating and praying about whatever comes to mind. After that, there is space for me to record my own thoughts and prayers. I leave my break encouraged by Scripture, healthy ideas, and meaningful time with God.

I love that the book has a little bit of everything. There are colorful drawings to enjoy, drawings to color, and blank spaces for drawings of my own. There are devotional thoughts, Bible verses, prayers, and lines for recording my own ideas.

If you are longing to develop some creative devotional time, Tranquility will help you start. I thank Tyndale House for sending me a complimentary copy for my own quiet time.

Book Review: "As Kingfishers Catch Fire"

I was so excited when Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers offered me this newest book by Eugene Peterson for review. I've read several of his books and always appreciate his fresh insights into God's Word.

I was especially delighted when I realized he wrote this book for those who preach and teach God's Word. In the introduction he explains, "When I prepare and preach a sermon, I need constant reminding that I am part of a company that has a rich and varied genealogy. I do not start from scratch. I do not make up something new." What he does, and what he's teaching his readers to do is "to enter into the biblical company of prototypical preachers and work out of the traditions they had developed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit."

As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a compilation of Peterson's sermons exploring the messages of seven biblical preachers: Moses, David, Isaiah, Solomon, Peter, Paul, and John of Patmos. For each of these men, he gives his readers an introduction and seven sermons. And as he does so, he reveals his own personal journey of learning to live the ways of God by studying His Word.

I recommend this book to anyone wishing to build on the foundation of God's Word in their own life.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Book Review: "Deep Extraction"

Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills is the second book in her FBI Task Force series, though it really stands alone. In this book, Special Agent Tori Templeton is brought on the case to solve the murder of her best friend’s husband. Her partner, convinced of her friend’s guilt, questions her ability to work the case without bias. But a new member to the task force, Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers, turns out to be an unexpected ally. Together they must solve the murder and also learn who set off a bomb at one of the victim’s oil rig sites. All becomes quite confusing and intense for the team as suspects and dangers multiply faster than answers to questions come in.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, but I didn’t always find the characters’ personalities or motivations to be believable. Max was over-the-top cantankerous. Lance seemed much older than the age given him. I wasn’t sure if Tori’s mother was an encourager or a problem to be dealt with. Sally didn’t seem like someone capable of the task given her near the end. Stronger personality development would have greatly enhanced this story.

Still the crimes and their surprising connections as all began to unfold kept the book interesting. Fans of law enforcement stories will enjoy Deep Extraction. I thank Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Book Review: "The Way of Letting Go"

In her new book, The Way of Letting Go, author Wilma Derksen shares the lessons in forgiveness that she learned as she struggled to forgive her daughter’s killer. The book is mostly memoir as Derkson tells the part of her story relevant to the lesson, then summarizes with a simple statement proclaiming the particular lesson she had to learn through it. Most chapters also have a related lesson from the teachings of Jesus, Who is presented in this book as the Nazarene. Derksen’s experiences in learning to forgive span more than twenty years.

Though the pain Derksen experienced was horrific, she has presented her lessons in such a way as to make the relevant for anyone who has experienced any kind of trauma or pain, for anyone who struggles to forgive. I love that Derksen teaches her readers to live forgiveness. In Chapter 23, she writes, “Because the world is broken—and it is broken in so many ways—forgiveness is a virtue. We not only forgive, but we also need to be forgiving. It should be part of our character.” The lessons in this book will help readers learn how to let God’s Spirit make forgiveness a growing virtue in their lives.

I thank Zondervan for sending me a complimentary copy of this book, so that I could share my thoughts about it with you. I highly recommend this read.